Somewhere in Salinger, amidst all that overrated blather, mention is made of the Paris/Chinese border, which a spy crosses with the greatest of ease. Funny then that I should come across Henry Miller in the anthology Americans in Paris calling Paris China. Miller’s ragged blossom reverts to an idyll of his Northside Williamsburg youth and includes this: “On the shed of the paint shop, just across the street, Willie Maine was standing with his pants down, jerking away for dear life. ‘Bjork’ he said. ‘Bjork! Bjork!’ The fire engine came and turned the hose on him.” Man, nothing like that happens in Billyburg anymore.
I once saw Bjork on 9th Avenue, and thought, as she approached, who does this elf-girl think she is, looking like Bjork? Until I realized it was Bjork in all her Bjorkness. Insufferably bourgeois, I kept my pants up.
The other night, crossing the Slope/Hill border through the valley of the Gowanus, Brooklyn smelled of fried food, corner sewer stench, blooming spring perfume, the greasy green Gowanus’ limpid corruption.
Today, spring: pale spindle legs in cut-off black jeans.